An­other World

This week, Ryan takes a look at the forth­com­ing re­make of 90s ad­ven­ture Out­cast, and checks in on the progress of the sand­box MMO, Worlds Adrift...

Micro Mart - - Specialists - Ryan Lam­bie has loved videogames since he first stared up in awe at a Galax­ian ar­cade cab­i­net in his lo­cal chip shop. 28 years on, Ryan writes about gam­ing for Mi­cro Mart. He’s still ad­dicted to chips and still use­less at Galax­ian

Plug & Play

The Mil­len­nium Bug, Will Smith's ac­tion com­edy Wild Wild West, Swear It Again by Westlife... There are many things that weren’t par­tic­u­larly good about the year 1999, but third-per­son ad­ven­ture game Out­cast wasn’t one of them. Widely re­garded as one of the ear­li­est ex­am­ples of a proper 3D open-world game, Out­cast took place in a par­al­lel world of aliens and strange crea­tures. There was ex­plo­ration, gun­play, stealth and even a bit of craft­ing. A sur­pris­ingly mod­ern game, both vis­ually and me­chan­i­cally (its use of vox­els was highly unusual for the time), Out­cast still re­tains some­thing of a cult fol­low­ing – even as Wild Wild West and Westlife have faded from pop­u­lar mem­ory.

Orig­i­nal de­vel­oper Ap­peal hasn’t for­got­ten about Out­cast, ei­ther. The Bel­gian stu­dio orig­i­nally went bust in 2001, tak­ing a pro­posed se­quel to Out­cast with them, but in 2013, the game’s cre­ators re­turned to an­nounce that they’d man­aged to ac­quire the Out­cast rights from then-own­ers, Atari. An en­hanced ver­sion of Out­cast ap­peared on Steam about six months later, but Ap­peal didn’t in­tend to leave it there; it an­nounced plans to pro­duce an HD re­make of Out­cast at around the same time and asked for a min­i­mum goal of $600,000 to pro­duce the ti­tle on Kick­starter.

That cam­paign didn’t quite go to plan, with the game strug­gling to earn much more than half of the fund­ing Ap­peal ex­pected. Sal­va­tion has now ap­peared in the form of in­de­pen­dent pub­lisher Big­ben In­ter­ac­tive, which has put up the nec­es­sary cap­i­tal so that Ap­peal can fi­nally get to work on its high-def re­make.

As part of that deal, Ap­peal has re­turned with a few more de­tails of its re­boot. Now ti­tled Out­cast: Sec­ond Con­tact, it will fea­ture an over­hauled sound­track and voice act­ing, im­proved char­ac­ter models and tex­tures. The images you can see sprin­kled around this page pro­vide our first look at the re­make, and we must say, it’s look­ing rather pretty al­ready.

While re­makes of old games aren’t al­ways some­thing to get ex­cited about, that Out­cast’s orig­i­nal de­sign­ers – Yves Gro­let, Yann Robert and Frank Sauer – are be­hind the new ver­sion should en­sure that plenty of time and care will be put into bring­ing it up to date.

Sec­ond Con­tact is sched­uled for launch in “early 2017”. If all goes well, the sci-fi ad­ven­ture and its bril­liantly named pro­tag­o­nist Cut­ter Slade will be cap­tur­ing the imag­i­na­tions of a whole new gen­er­a­tion of gamers – or, at the very least, mak­ing us older ones party like it’s 1999.

On­line

Ever since we first caught wind of it, we’ve thought that Bossa Stu­dios’ MMO Worlds Adrift was a game with real prom­ise. As it turns out, we’re not the only ones; the de­vel­oper’s re­cently en­joyed a fairly hefty cash in­jec­tion thanks to Lon­don Ven­ture Part­ners. The ven­ture cap­i­tal firm is in­vest­ing $1.35 mil­lion in Bossa ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port, which should mean that the stu­dio’s most am­bi­tious project to date can re­ally take flight.

Worlds Adrift, you may re­call, is an on­line game in which play­ers can cre­ate and fly huge air­ships across a shared, per­sis­tent game map. There are no short­age of wannabe Minecraft games on the mar­ket, but Worlds Adrift looks like a re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent twist on the build-and-ex­plore theme; the em­pha­sis here is less on sur­vival than craft­ing and com­bat, but there’s also a whole world to ex­plore if you’re not in the

mood for blaz­ing can­nons at high al­ti­tude. You can swing from float­ing is­land to float­ing is­land with your trusty grap­pling hook, and there are all kinds of ex­otic an­i­mals crawl­ing and fly­ing around – which will prob­a­bly re­spond in kind if you try to at­tack them. You can forge al­liances with other play­ers to form ad-hoc bands of sky pi­rates, or you can scut­tle in af­ter other play­ers have fought one an­other and scav­enge the wreck­age of their craft to im­prove your own.

A lit­tle like No Man’s Sky, Worlds Adrift is one of those big games from a rel­a­tively small de­vel­oper that could be bit­ing off more than it can chew. The footage, dev diaries and in­ter­views Bossa has pro­vided so far in­di­cate that there’s more to Worlds Adrift than hype, though. How­ever, as al­ways, an on­line game lives or dies by its com­mu­nity, so if the MMO re­ally can hook in the thou­sands of play­ers Bossa says Worlds Adrift is ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing, its scale and ac­tion could be quite un­like any­thing we’ve seen in a sand­box game be­fore.

Although the game went through an al­pha test a few months ago, Bossa is still re­main­ing cagey about when it’ll come out; Steam has it pegged for launch in 2016, but a July blog post from the stu­dio stated that the game’s still be­ing pol­ished. That Bossa’s had a healthy amount of money thrown in its di­rec­tion should, we hope, mean that they’ll have the re­sources to make Worlds Adrift live up to its prom­ise.

Un­til the full game ar­rives, Bossa’s re­leased a free-todown­load Is­land Cre­ator, in which you can de­sign and play around with your own float­ing land masses. Sub­mit them to Bossa, and you might find your de­sign in the fin­ished game.

In­com­ing

Prov­ing that even the most puerile, un­re­con­structed games of the 90s can still make a come­back, the re­booted Shadow War­rior was an un­ex­pected suc­cess when it emerged in 2013. This was, of course, an HD re­make of the retro shooter of the same name, in which the toe-curlingly named ninja an­ti­hero Lo Wang shot and hacked his way through an army of de­monic en­e­mies.

Its re­cep­tion was so pos­i­tive that de­vel­oper Fly­ing Wild Hog has come up with a se­quel – with a twist. Where the orig­i­nal was a pure, old-school blaster, Shadow War­rior 2 takes the form of an ac­tion RPG with loot, weapons that can be lev­elled up and a se­ries of open, pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated ar­eas linked to a cen­tral hub. Any­one wor­ried that Shadow War­rior 2 has be­come a bit too cere­bral can rest as­sured that the blood­let­ting, guns, and dis­mem­ber­ment are back and more over the top than ever. Lo Wang con­tin­ues to pro­vide a run­ning com­men­tary of four-letter words and daft catch­phrases (“Here comes the boom-stick!”), while the dev­il­ish bad guys are just as brutish and lack­ing in strat­egy as ever.

Ac­cord­ing to De­volver Dig­i­tal, Shadow War­rior 2 will be avail­able for PC in “less than two months.” A pre­cise re­lease date? Lo Wang’s far too cool for that sort of thing. mm

It might hail from the last mil­len­nium, but Out­cast is still a crack­ing ac­tion ad­ven­ture - and it’s get­ting a HD re­make next year, cour­tesy of its orig­i­nal de­vel­oper

Lo Wang’s set to re­turn in a mat­ter of weeks in Shadow War­rior 2, a retro blaster with a wel­come smat­ter­ing of RPG el­e­ments

Worlds Adrift is one of the most promis­ing on­line games on the hori­zon. Its open-world airship bat­tles are sched­uled to ap­pear later this year

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.